Holy crap...update no-jutso, guys!
I'm so sorry to keep you all waiting. Life calls sometimes.
Chapter 7: Survivors
Everything was dark for Violet.
The last thing she remembered was getting attacked by a changeling, of all things, and telling her father to run.
Her head was throbbing. Her wings ached.
But she felt...warm.
As her senses started coming back, she could hear the crackling of a fire a few feet away and could feel it's warmth.
A voice grunted and the sound of metal clanging was heard. The voice was a male. He sounded like he was working on something.
"Ugh..." She groaned and rolled over, but she found that her wings hurt just as much. "Argh..." She winced and opened her eyes. She found herself underneath a rock outcropping, the aforementioned fire illuminating the ceiling above her with a pale orange light. She could tell she was still in the desert.
She was lying down. She tried to lift up both her forehooves, but could only lift her right one. Her left one, when she looked down, was restrained by a familiar brown and tattered cloak acting as a sling.
"You'll wanna be careful there..." The voice said, grunting again. "You took a nasty beating...that forehoof that's all slung up? Broken in three places...don't mess with it..."
She turned to see who the voice belonged to and gasped. "You..."
Sitting on the other side of the fire was the stallion of legend, Blue Bass. He was looking at her across the fire, his golden eyes glinting slightly from the fire. "Me what?" Blue Bass looked away from her and grunted again. Violet found the reason for his grunting was him trying to remove the charred pieces of armor from his hooves. He removed one and grunted in pain, his fur underneath revealed to be charred, and threw it on the ground, making the metal clank.
"Did you...are you...?" Violet couldn't speak. She lurched forward and coughed violently and a little blood came out of her mouth.
"Don't talk so loudly..." Blue Bass spoke quietly to her. "You have a minor concussion and suffered some internal bleeding...honestly, I didn't think you would live..." The stallion sighed as he reached down, ripped some more fabric from the brown cloak he wore, and wrapped a slip of it around a wound on his forehoof. He used his mouth to pull the makeshift bandage into a knot, grunted in pain, and sighed. "I had to save at least one of you...and you were still breathing..." Blue Bass looked outside the outcropping and scanned the night sky. "Plus, those things are still out there in their warship...looking for stragglers..." He turned back around and narrowed his eyes. "So stay quiet..."
Violet nodded slowly, still in shock that she was right all along. The captain that had arrived the day before who had called himself Blue Bolt was actually Blue Bass, the stallion who saved Equestria all those years ago before she was born. She opened her mouth to speak. She had so many questions to ask Ace. But she fell silent remembering his orders and her health.
Violet took this opportunity to look herself over. She was covered in makeshift bandages from her multiple wounds, all from his cloak. She looked back at Ace, who was now standing up on all fours and stretching out his wings, which were intact for the most part. There were a few bruises here and there.
He felt her eyes on him and he looked over at her, "Violet, was it?"
Violet was confused. She narrowed her eyes in annoyance at him.
"Just nod. Yes or no?"
Violet blinked a few times, then nodded.
Ace nodded, "Right...just making sure..." He walked over to her side of the fire and stood next to her spot, looking down at her. "You paint a lot?"
He was looking down at her Cutie Mark, which was a paintbrush and colors. She nodded again with a slight smile.
Ace smiled. She blushed. She had never seen him smile before. "That's wonderful...I wish I could draw..."
Ace finally sat down next to her and stared out at the night sky. Finally, after a few moments, her frowned. "Did you..." He sighed heavily. "Did you have family back there?" He turned and looked at her, his golden eyes glinting again from the fire.
This took Violet aback. She looked down at the ground in front of her, a lone tear sliding off of her cheek and landing on the ground.
"Oh, no..." Ace sniffed, his mouth slightly agape. He gritted his teeth, smacked himself on the forehead in frustration, and shook his head. "I'm...I'm so sorry..."
She nodded while still looking at the ground, signaling that he was forgiven.
Violet shook her head again.
Violet snapped her head in Ace's direction, who was looking down at her with sorrow in his expression.
She sniffed, nodded furiously, and threw herself upwards, wrapping her good forehoof around Ace.
He grunted in confusion, but then slowly realized what had happened and patted her back with a forehoof. "I'm so sorry...I couldn't save everypony..."
She sniffed and buried her muzzle into Ace's shoulder. His fur felt hot in that area as the tears streamed out of her eyes stained it.
Violet hugged Ace tightly, shaking from her sobs. She felt him run a hoof through her mane uncertainly, something that made her cry even more. He was holding her like her father used to.
Instead of breaking away, Violet just nuzzled closer to Ace. She felt just a little bit safer in his embrace.
Blue Bass felt Violet's nuzzling and sighed, reminded of the times Dash had done the same. If he closed his eyes, he could almost picture him and Violet together, instead of him and Rainbow Dash...
"What am I thinking?" Ace thought as he held this mare he had only just gotten know.
And she hadn't even spoken that much.
A bush just outside the cave started to rustle fiercely. Blue Bass quickly threw away the mental picture, drawing and cocking his flintlock and holding Violet protectively.
"Whoever you are, don't even think about it!" Ace growled and narrowed his eyes, taking aim at the bush.
"Whoa whoa whoa!" A voice called out that was clearly not changeling. Slowly, a white stallion emerged from the brush, an alarmed look on his face. "I'm a friend! Don't shoot!"
Ace sighed and lowered his weapon, placing it on the ground and letting go of Vio. "Can't be too careful..." Ace flexed his wings and eyes the new pony mysteriously. "What is a pony like you doing all the way out in the middle of the desert?"
The pony, who had an electric blue mane and tail, stepped forward, eyeing Ace and Vio cautiously. "I came because I...well..." He paused and looked down. "I'm here because of Rainbow Dash. Ace..."
"Rainbow Dash...?" Ace blinked in confusion upon hearing his lover's name.
"She's worried sick," the stallion explained, eyeing Ace and Violet oddly. Ace cocked an eyebrow.
"How do you know Rainbow Dash?" he asked. "Who are you?"
The white stallion pursed his lips, looking off to the side for a moment before replying.
"My name is Fyre Bolt-"
Ace's eyes widened, and he lunged at Fyre Bolt. "RRRRAAAAAGH!"
Blue Bass forced Fyre Bolt to the ground, shoving the flintlock pistol beneath Fyre Bolt's chin. "YOU HAVE SOME NERVE SHOWING UP HERE!"
A drop of sweat rolled down Fyre Bolt's forehead as the barrel of the pistol dug into his neck. He could see Blue Bass twitching at the trigger, ready to pull it in an instant.
"Ace..." Fyre Bolt lifted up his forehooves. "I...I can explain..."
"Give me one good reason I shouldn't end you right now..." Ace growled as he pressed it harder against him.
Violet looked on in horror behind the pair, afraid of what was going to happen and confused as to what was going on.
"Ace..." she squeaked out, trying to get his attention before he went over the edge.
She was too quiet and was unable to grab his attention. Rage was blinding Ace, boiling up in him and wiping out all other emotion.
"I wanna help you!" Fyre Bolt suddenly blurted out, gulping nervously. "I...I wanna make amends! I don't want any hard feelings between us! Rainbow Dash felt awful! And so did I!"
"That's a tall order, Fyre Bolt!" Ace growled, leaning in closer. "I'm still waiting on that good reason!"
Fyre bolt opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by Ace grabbing his head, a single drop of blood rolling down from the bite on his neck. Fyre was about to ask what was wrong, but Ace quickly pressed down with his pistol, practically suffocating him.
"Give...me...a...reason..." Ace hissed through his teeth. Fyre Bolt began to panic as the flint moved back just a tiny bit.
"You need me to get you out of this!" Fyre Bolt cried out, closing his eyes and preparing for the worst.
Ace had just about had it. He was about to end the stallion that ruined everything when the buzzing intensified, drowning out Fyre Bolt's words. He cried out, staggering backward and dropping the pistol. He placed a forehoof on his forehead and cried out again. He shook his head violently.
Violet rushed over to Ace and grabbed hold of him, putting her mouth near his ear so she could whisper to him. "Ace!"
Her words snapped Ace out of whatever influence he had been under, and he looked at her weakly. Fyre Bolt got up off the ground and dusted himself off, rubbing his throat.
"Blue Bass, Fyre Bolt," Violet whispered as loudly as she could. "I don't know what's going on with you two...maybe I don't want to. But we need to work together if we're going to get out of this mess."
"Yeah, okay," Fyre Bolt said hoarsely. "One one condition: no talking about what happened with me and Dash, okay?"
Ace scowled, shaking his head to clear the last of the buzzing. He locked eyes with Fyre Bolt, Violet looking on. "Fine. But this isn't over."
Fyre Bolt nodded. "I know it isn't."
Twilight Sparkle sat down in her library with who remained of the Elements of Harmony and sighed forlornly. "This is just a mess..."
"Twilight..." Applejack frowned at the sight of her friend struggling to comprehend the problem.
"I feel bad...I haven't felt this bad since the Nightmare incident..." Twilight placed a forehoof on her head, sighing again. "I can't...figure out a plausible way to fix this..."
"Don't give up, Twilight..." Fluttershy flew over and patted her friend on the shoulder. "A solution won't present itself right away...we just have to be patient..."
"Yeah, Twilight!" Pinkie Pie said happily as she bounced over as well. "Fluttershy is right! Besides, it's not like a solution is going to trot through the front door!"
Suddenly, a loud knocking was heard from the front door.
"Ah'll get it," Applejack said, getting up and going to the door. She quickly peeked out the small window in the door, then pulled back, blinking. "Ah must be seein' things..."
Another series of knocks confirmed that Applejack was not hallucinating. Hesitantly, she opened the door. "Uh, howdy?"
"Hello...uh...ma'am." A green unicorn with a brown windbreaker, and a blonde mane and tail said to Applejack. Rarity was collapsed on his back, and behind him was...a robot.
"Look! A cowpony! That's so ironic, in't it?" The robot spoke with an accent.
"I was just wondering if...uhm...this was yours..." The green Unicorn asked, nodding back at Rarity.
Applejack gaped, first at the unconscious Rarity, then at the strange synthetic pony. She stood silent for just a bit too long for the unicorn's tastes.
"Riiiiight..." he sighed, turning to his companion and nodding to a house across the way. "Next house, Wheatley."
"Righto, mate!" the pony named 'Wheatley' said cheerily. "Y'know, still trying to get used to the whole 'mobile' thing. Never really thought about what it'd be like, 'cept for the rail, of course. I honestly..."
The pony's words faded as he walked away with his unicorn friend and Rarity. Applejack shook herself out of her shock and quickly called out after them. "Hey!"
The pair turned back to Applejack. "Yes?" the unicorn asked.
"That's my friend Rarity!" the cowpony told them, walking up to them. The unicorn and synthetic looked at one another, shrugged, and gladly traded off the unconscious Rarity.
"Well that's one mystery solved..." the green stallion sighed. "Now if only we could find Dan..."
Applejack's eyes widened in shock. Her eyes quickly ran down to the unicorn's cutie mark: a badge with "Sessions" written across the top!
"Well if everything were that easy, mate, where would the fun be?"
The stallion shook his head, and turned to leave. "Come on."
"Wait!" Applejack called out again. "Ya'll are lookin' for Dan?" She received two nods, one curt, one energetic, in reply. "Ah think ah can help with that."
The fire under the rock shelter where the ponies took refuge had long since gone out. Fyre Bolt, Violet, and Ace were sound asleep, as they had decided to make for Ponyville in the morning to warn the Elements.
Violet occasionally shiver as a cold desert wind blew by and would snuggle into her makeshift cast for warmth.
Fyre Bolt and Ace were sleeping opposite each other, the bad blood between them still fresh in their minds.
Ace turned fitfully in his sleep, as if he was experiencing a nightmare. He was breathing rapidly, a short growl punctuating his restlessness every now and then.
Suddenly, the blue pegasus sat up, his eyes wide. He looked around himself, at Violet, at Fyre Bolt, then quietly slinked away.
He took one last look back at them, then quietly gave a very...unsettling...chuckle.
He turned around, smirking crazily, and spread his injured wings, taking off, a stream of blood flowing down his head.
His eyes were shrunken down to small circles.
Small green circles.
"BROTHER!?" All four of mares in the library who were conscious yelled at once. Rarity was still KO'd on the couch.
John stared at all four of the mares, exchanging a look with Wheatley. "Yeah...I'm Dan's brother..."
Wheatley's optic narrowed. "Wait a second..." Wheatley trotted up to John and tapped him on the shoulder. "So then...I was right..."
"Right about what?!" John barked annoyedly at the robot.
"Dan got sent to magical pony-land!" He grabbed John's head and yanked it in the direction of Twilight Sparkle. "And now...and NOW...we're getting told he was sent here by a magical unicorn Princess!"
Twilight Sparkle gave the duo a look. "I'm a representative in a hierarchy..."
"Same difference, love..." Wheatley rolled his optic as John yanked himself free of Wheatley's grip.
"So...he's here?" John said, not sure what to make of this whole situation.
"Yesiree...yer brother's a darned legend here in Equestria..." Applejack gave a small smile and stepped forward.
"Is there gonna be an EIGHTH Element now!?" Pinkie asked with shock on her face.
"No, Pinkie..." Twilight shook her head, sighing.
"I...see..." John cocked his head and narrowed his eyes. "And...what exactly did my bro do for you...horses?"
"Ponies..." Twilight corrected.
"Fine...ponies..." John scoffed.
"He saved us!" Pinkie said as she bounced up to the green unicorn. "A powerful god of Chaos returned from imprisonment and started attacking the capital city and then he discovered a new element and blah blah blah blah blah!"
John's eye twitched as Pinkie kept bouncing around and speaking a such a high speed. He didn't even know it was possible to talk like that.
He shook his head to regain his composure before Wheatley sighed, "Okay...could someone other than the crazy pink one explain what he did?"
Twilight Sparkle rolled her eyes, "You'll have to excuse her..." She gestured to the chairs in the library as she, Fluttershy, and Applejack sat down while Pinkie kept bouncing.
John and Wheatley again exchanged another look before John shrugged and sat down next to the unicorn that had fainted and was still out, while Wheatley awkwardly positioned himself on the table.
Twilight gave the robotic pony a weird look before John waved a hoof from his spot, "Ignore him...he's...impaired..."
"Your horse-face is impaired!" Wheatley retorted, pointing a hoof.
This elicited a slight chuckle from Fluttershy before Twilight cleared her throat. "It all started fifteen years ago...when my friend Rainbow Dash was doing her rounds during weather patrol..."
Ace was surrounded by Royal Guards with their weapons drawn in the middle of the desert. He had no recollection of how he got there. In fact, he didn't have any control of his actions. Droplets of blood flowed from his head as he stood there, looking down.
"There he is, Corporal Redemption, sir!" A guard spoke up as his superior approached.
"What's...going on...?" Dan thought over the constant buzzing noise in his head. "Why...can't I...control myself?"
"Blue Bass?" A voice asked him and he heard the clopping of hooves stepping towards him. "Blue Bass? Is...is that you?"
"Yes! Yes, it's me!"
"Redemption, is it?" He spoke with a voice that wasn't his. It was scratchy and coarse, and...crazy-sounding.
"What the-!? This...this isn't me! Help!"
"A Red Hoof, no less...good for you..." Ace responded, slowly looking up at the Red Hoof. He was an orange Pegasus with a spiky orange mail and tail. His eyes widened as he locked eyes with Ace.
"W-what is it? Why are you scared? I'm fine! It's me!"
"I had great respect for the Red Hooves..." Ace said, smiling evilly. His teeth were alarmingly sharp and pointy for a stallion of his size.
"Since when did my teeth get so heavy and big?!"
The Red Hoof known as Redemption growled and drew a knife, pressing it to Ace's throat. "You did not answer my question!" He bared his teeth and scowled. "Are you or are you not Blue Bass?!"
"YES! I AM!"
Ace started to laugh maniacally. "Hahahaha...HAAAHHAHAHAH! Heeeehehehehee..." He smirked. "I was..."
"WAS!? WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING!? AAARGH! I CAN'T HEAR MYSELF OVER THIS BUZZING!"
"This guy is insane..." A nearby guard said.
Ace stopped laughing and slowly leaned over and looked at the guard who spoke. "Insane? You think..." He narrowed his evil-looking green eyes at the guard. "I'm insane?"
"Y-yes?" The guard responded, looking at Ace like he was a monster.
"GOOD ANSWER, MEAT!" Ace shrieked before bucking Redemption, taking his knife, and rushing towards the guard.
The real Ace faintly heard a scream.
He felt hot blood flow over the hoof that was clutching the knife.
Then, he heard no more except the buzzing.
Not even himself.
Redemption lay still on the ground, unmoving. He lifted his head up, slowly. His head was spinning. He must've hit it on a rock.
"That Red Hoof is alive!" A female voice hissed behind him.
"Hurry! Get him out of there!" A male voice sounded.
"Whu-what?" Redemption murmured, trying to roll over and get a look at who was talking.
"Shh!" A blue mare with weird ears and a purple mane said to him while a white Pegasus with a blue mane and tail slowly lifted him. "Stay quiet!" She winced as a guard cried out from getting killed.
"Ugh..." Redemption leaned back and felt himself being lifted up by the two Pegasus ponies.
As everything blacked out, he heard the two talking. "Violet, we need to tell Rainbow Dash about this!"
Rainbow Dash couldn't remember how long she'd been flying at the Wonderbolt training field. With no emotion in her violet eyes, she flew through the obstacles and through the cloud loops like clockwork, not paying attention to anything around her. Her talk with Fyre Bolt didn't go so well. He stormed off to go help Dan when she didn't want him to. Occasionally, however, a stray tear would stream down her face and fly down to the ground.
Her most recent tear splashed down at the hooves of Captain Spitfire. She gazed up at rainbow Dash with worry in her eyes.
"She still out here?" A rough, scratchy voice behind her signaled the arrival of Soarin', her coltfriend and co-captain.
"Yeah..." Spitfire sighed as Soarin' sat beside her. "Something is most definitely wrong with her...it's been three hours non-stop...even she can't keep up with herself at this rate..."
"What should we do?" Soarin' asked.
"Just make sure she doesn't die when her wings finally give out and she falls..." Spitfire sighed, leaning against Soarin's shoulder.
Rainbow Dash, however, was not going to stop anytime soon.
She needed to get him out of his mind, and non-stop training was the prime way to do so.
Or so she thought.
She still loved him, and no matter how much she tried, she couldn't change the fact that he was back.
And that she had screwed up.
She stopped flying abruptly.
Spitfire and Soarin' leaned forward to see if they could get a glimpse at what was happening.
She whipped her head around and looked out towards the desert. The sadness in her eyes was gone. It was replaced with a combination of worry and determination.
"Whoa..." Soarin' muttered.
Rainbow Dash felt like something was very wrong. It was a weird feeling. Something she hadn't felt since...
Her pupils shrank in worry.
She quickly flew down to where Soarin' and Spitfire were sitting, landing with a heavy thud in front of them. Soarin' fell backwards as Spitfire stood up. "What's the matter, Dash?"
"Ace is in trouble!"
"ACE!?" Both Soarin' and Spitfire barked, Soarin' sitting upright.
"I can feel it..." Dash said, again gazing out at the desert. "We need to go save him, now!"
"Waitwaitwait..." Spitfire waved a hoof. "Ace is back!?"
"Your coltfriend that went to Zebrica? It's been years!" Soarin' said with shock.
"I'll explain later...for now, we're mobilizing the Wonderbolts!"
Spitfire stared at Rainbow for a moment before sighing, "Is that what...this is all about?"
She whipped her head to look at her Captain, "This?"
She gestured at Rainbow with a forehoof. "This."
Slowly, she nodded. "Yeah...
"Then we have no time to lose."
Hooray! Abother update after many months of inactivity. I'll try to get more out as soon as I can!
Violet (c) BloodyOkami
Fyre Bolt (c) Robsa990
And thanks to robsa for the amazing art. If you wanna see it, go to FiMFiction.